If floss makes you think of dental care or shoot makes you think of gun control..this might not be the article for you. Maybe it might just be an opportunity to learn about some street/urban dance terminology, you know, fit in with these millennial’s and born frees.
My name is Sipho bn jammin (yes, you have to say the whole thing) or Sipho (if it’s thaaat serious) and I will be your tour guide throughout this street/urban dance journey that we undertake. Today’s journey is a short one and we will mainly be dealing with the genre that’s easily the fastest growing and evolving form, Hip Hop. Most people have a general understanding of what hip hop looks and sounds like and can, for the most part, trace its origins to The Bronx in the 70s. So today I’ll take it one step further and explain that Hip Hop is more than just music and dance, it’s a culture.
Nerd alert!!!! It might be wise at this point to inform you that as an Anthropology and sociology major certain buzz words like CULTURE always require a lengthy explanation depending on the academic forum but lucky for you all, I will go against my natural inclination to further delve into this and instead just stick to the definition of it being “the ideas, customs, and social behavior of a particular people or society. “Ok let’s get back on track. Understanding Hip Hop requires you to understand that it is something that came from the street, urban communities and is lived and expressed through these 9 elements.
- Breaking (breakdancing, bboying)
- Emceeing (rapping)
- Graffiti art
- Street fashion
- Street language
- Street entrepreneurship
- Street knowledge (knowledge of self)
While it is not important to be able to do all 9 to be a part of the culture, it is important to familiarize yourself with each and understand how they all intertwine and influence each other to have Hip Hop. You can only begin to understand the importance of street diction when trying to interpret a rap song that uses a word like “frontin”.
I would like to think the reason Hip Hop dance or any street/urban dance form, continues to evolve and grow is largely due to the fact that it’s influence is society, environment, pop culture and everything that happens in and around us daily, hence why we now have dance moves with names such as the ATL stomp(Atlanta), Harlem shake (Harlem New York), Bart Simpson (fictional television character) or even the reebok (clothing brand).
So today if you leave with anything, leave knowing this; a move in which a person repeatedly swings their arms from the back of their body to the front, on each side is called the floss (based on its resemblance to the action of using dental floss.). Ok that’s not really the only thing I’d like you to leave with. What is very important to note however is that whilst the journey we undertook today did not focus itself in just dance, it is the core to understanding why we have the dances that we have. Hip hop and street dance exist in more than just its names, movements and history, it exists in societal and cultural practice and one should never forget that.
Peace y’all (peace to you all)
Sipho B’n Jamming
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Written By: Sipho B’n Jamming Didiza
Headline Image: Paul Luthando